Genuine Conversion by Bishop G. Colley

One of the negative stigmas attached to Christianity stems from those who claim to be born again without evidence of genuine conversion. This problem has caused many to make the false claim that born again people are morally indistinguishable from the rest of the world. John Wesley said; “what many call the new birth is just an intellectual assent to the truth”.

 

I was reading an article a few days ago, in which a person who claimed to be born again had just died from AIDS because he was practicing an immoral lifestyle. The commentator mentioned in the article, that we are living under grace, so it does not matter how the person lived, as long as he was born again, he will go to heaven. Many believe, because we are under grace our lifestyles do not need to correspond with our beliefs. This begs the question; what does it mean to be born again?

 

I am fully aware of the fact that people who are genuinely born again can and do make mistakes, but I believe, if a person is truly born again there should be biblical evidence of the new birth experience. If someone is genuinely born again, there should be a change of heart and life. There should be fruit in keeping with repentance. John the beloved Apostle outlined some of the evidences of the new birth in his Epistle. They are as follows;

 

1.   Those who are born again will practice righteousness (1 John 2:29)

2.   No one born of God makes a practice of sinning (1 John 3:9, 1 John 5:18)

3.   A distinguishing characteristic of those who are born again is love for fellow believers (1 John 4:7)

4.   One who has experienced the new birth overcomes the world (1 John 5:4).

 

The lack of understanding concerning the outworking of the new birth is exacerbated by a lack of understanding about the three-fold nature of man. The Bible is clear that as human beings, we are spirits, we possess souls and we live in physical bodies (1 Thess. 5:23). The spirit is the real person, the part of you that contacts God. The soul is comprised of the mind, will and emotions. The physical body is the part that contacts the physical world.

 

When a person becomes born again, the Holy Spirit comes to indwell the person’s spirit. The Bible says, the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord and it is from here God guides us (Proverbs 20:27). The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s spirit causes the person to become born again (2 Corinthians 5:17).

 

After we become born again we still have to do something about our minds and bodies. One reason why born again people are sometimes indistinguishable from the rest of the world, is because many do not take the time to renew their minds with the Word of God. The Bible says be transformed (changed) by the entire renewal of your mind that you may prove the good, acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).

 

Our bodies must be disciplined by practicing the spiritual disciplines such as Fasting and Prayer. The Apostle Paul said, “I keep my body under subjection to my spirit lest when I preach to others I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27).

 

The Bible talks about 3 types of people; natural, carnal and spiritual. The natural person is unregenerate. The carnal Christian is born again but dominated by the flesh. The spiritual person is born again and lives under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Let’s tap into the life of the Spirit so that our lifestyles correspond with our beliefs.

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